Just six months ago Christie Elliott was turning out on an old school playing field for Wearside League club Jarrow FC. This afternoon the 20-year-old forward will take his place on the subsitutes’ bench for Partick Thistle a day after signing a two-year professional contract with the Glasgow club.
Born in Jarrow and schooled at St Joseph’s – whose former pupils include the athlete Brendan Foster and Preston North End manager Phil Brown – Elliott joined his hometown team in 2009 from Gateshead youth side Leam Rangers. Originally a midfielder – the same position as his younger brother, Brett, who signed for Sunderland from Wallsend Boys Club in the summer of 2010 and has recently broken into the Premier League club’s reserve team – he was an integral part of Davy Bell’s Jarrow side as they improved from 10th to 5th in the Wearside League. Pacy, direct and hard working, Elliott contributed plenty of goals from the right-side of midfield, gaining a reputation as a free-kick specialist.
Elliott isn’t the first Jarrow old boy to make the switch to the Scottish Football League. Carl Finnigan, now in the SPL with St Johnstone after 113 appearances with Falkirk, and Steven Istead, who played 24 times for Peterhead, both started out in the club’s youth teams. But while Finnigan and Istead spent time in the Newcastle United Academy, Elliott went from Jarrow to Whitley Bay, signing for FA Vase holders Whitley Bay at the beginning of April. If early strikes against Stokesley and West Allotment Celtic were an indication of his talent, his form in pre-season showed how much, and how quickly, he’d developed. A goal against Hoddeston Town was followed by an impressive display against a Sunderland XI which included his brother, Nyron Nosworthy, George McCartney and Matt Kilgallon, and a hat-trick at Horden CW.
Elliott’s last appearance for the Seahorses came on the opening day of the Northern League season when he replaced Paul Chow in the second half of a 2-2 draw with Dunston UTS. A week’s trial at Partick saw him impress while scoring with another free kick in a friendly match with Scotland U19s. “We feel that he offers a lot of assets,” Thistle boss Jackie McNamara, a former Scottish international and four-time title winner with Celtic, told the club’s official website. “I’m really disappointed he’s gone,” says Bay fan David Jameson. “A great talent.”